Mini Review: The Quarantine Princess Diaries

Format Read: eBook (NetGalley ARC)

Rating: 3 Stars 

Ahh, nostalgic returns to book series from my youth. I confess I kind of love the trend of authors like Meg Cabot revisiting their teenage protagonists to check in on their adult lives. 

During the early days of the pandemic, Meg Cabot released some blog posts letting us know what Princess Mia was up to. Naturally, these posts joined up with some new entries to eventually become an entire book — The Quarantine Princess Diaries. I kind of still can’t believe that I got approved for a digital ARC of this one, so a thousand thank yous to NetGalley and Avon for the pleasure.

This is a mini review in large part because I can’t quite make up my mind on how to feel about this book. On the one hand, I’ll never say no to a chance to catch up with Mia. On the other hand, it’s a bit hard to blend the humor and ridiculousness of Mia’s overreactive tendencies with something as serious as the COVID-19 pandemic. At times, I felt the tone was a bit of a miss in this regard.

However, in terms of seeing what all of our favorite characters would be up to during the pandemic, this book fully delivers. It was great to see Grandmere partying on yachts and Lilly in all her lawyer glory, not to mention a few appearances from a now very old Fat Louie. The nostalgia factor definitely delivers here, and Cabot doesn’t miss a single character callback that I can think of, even if some get more page time than others.

This is a quick read and manages not to make thinking back on the quarantine days of the pandemic too painful. I’m glad I had the chance to read it and definitely recommend it to anyone who grew up with Princess Mia. Would I say this is the best entry point to new fans? Probably not. Would I personally still read a hundred more diary entries from Princess Mia? Almost definitely. 

The Quarantine Princess Diaries comes out on March 28th and is available for preorder in all the places. 


Mini Review: Initiated, Memoir of a Witch

Hello, book friends! A quick note to say that our power is still off (we’re entering day three). My laptop has a bit of a charge and I can use a hotspot to stick to posting for a sense of normalcy, I probably won’t be super active in terms of reading and interacting. I hope to catch up on things as soon as our power is back on, estimated to happen late tomorrow night.

We sure are having an adventure in rural living. Don’t worry, our house has stayed relatively warm and Azula is now in her sweatshirt. We have relatives near by we can stay with if things get dire, so we’re safe but inconvenienced. Anyway, on to the promised mini-review!

Format read: Hardcover

Rating: 2.5 stars (rounded up to 3 on Goodreads)

When I happened upon the beautiful teal cover of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch, I was drawn to the book immediately. It is truly a cover that speaks to my witchy soul, and the thought of reading a memoir explicitly about someone’s witchcraft journey excited me. 

Unfortunately, this book wasn’t at all what I expected it to be. It took me a long time to finish it, though I did feel determined to do so. In today’s mini-review, I’m going to attempt to articulate why this didn’t work for me. 

When I hear the word “initiated,” I expect to hear the story of how a woman discovered her magic and embraced it. This book doesn’t quite do that in the way I expected. Rather, it is a story of Amanda Yates Garcia’s “journey through the underworld,” her metaphorical reading of how the trauma of her young life ultimately led her to witchcraft. 

This book is darker and more difficult than I expected. It also does some experimentation with truth and metaphor, such that I sometimes struggled to follow the author’s narrative and understand what was literally true and what was emotionally true. 

I’m all for a bit of experimentation in memoir, but I do like to be able to tell when it’s happening. Here, it was a bit difficult to parse what the author believed to be literally happening and where she used archetypes and witchcraft to speak emotional truths. 

For a book that is the memoir of a witch, not much about the practice of witchcraft appears in the pages except in bits and pieces. This makes sense as the author is looking at how her life led her to embracing the ancestral magic she forgot, but I still would’ve liked a bit more detail about how she stepped back into her magic. In this version, we hop and skip around in time and don’t ever really see how we go from a traumatized young woman to the Oracle of Los Angeles. 

That’s not to say there isn’t some interesting writing happening here, and at times the book is quite captiviating. I can’t say I’m not glad I finished it, because it was a unique sort of read. It wasn’t quite what I hoped it would be, but I’m sure it would resonate with some readers who enjoy a good memoir about coming of age and reclaiming your life after trauma.